What’s the right amount of money to have saved for it to make sense to talk to a professional financial advisor? It’s a question I get all the time. Think about it in terms of your health. When’s the right time to go to the gym? Do you wait until you’ve lost ten pounds? Twenty pounds? Do you wait until you are down fifty pounds? Most of the time, I’d guess you’d say none of those are the right answer! You would probably say that you need to get to the gym now to start getting in shape. It should feel no different in terms of your finances. I like to think of an advisor’s role as your financial life coach. It’s my job to help you define where you are, where you want to be, and develop a plan to get you there with on-going coaching.
There are two general scenarios that I run into. You are either struggling to figure out how to get things in order or you feel like you’ve got a good handle on things, but you just aren’t sure how to take the next step in progressing. Both are a great time to talk to an advisor. Let’s start with scenario one.
Life is feeling like constant chaos. Just when you feel like you have things under control, something comes flying out of left field and knocks you off course. You’re paying your bills, but it feels like you aren’t making a dent in the debt you have. You need a vacation, but you can’t afford to take one. Your car is starting to break down, but you don’t know how you are going to get a new one. Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Wait a second, how are you going to afford day care, diapers, clothes, food, and their education!? Your advisor is there to help you sort through all of this. Their job becomes helping you get organized, define exactly where you are, budget each dollar, and get you to a place where you can focus on what you enjoy, not your finances. Let your advisor guide the conversation in helping you set proper goals, design a plan, implement that plan, and finally, keep you on track for success. Your advisor should help you find the right balance of managing now and planning for the future.
Scenario two. You have done a good job figuring out how to budget and manage your debts, you are earning a decent living, but you aren’t sure where to go from here. What’s the best use of your money? Should you pay down your house as soon as possible? It’s time to look at a job change, but you aren’t sure how that will impact your family. You’ve built a good savings account and you are noticing that it doesn’t pay much to just hold it in your savings account. Should you buy a rental property, invest in the market, start a business? Let your advisor help you. What do you want to accomplish from here? You are in a place to let your money do some work for you. Your advisor should help you decide the right path to fit your lifestyle. Maybe you don’t want the responsibility of maintaining a rental property, so let your advisor help you lay out different options. Once you’ve started to get a clear picture of your desired lifestyle with your advisor, together you can design a plan to fit. From there, your advisor is your coach to continually guide you down that path while implementing and maintaining your plan.
So, when’s the right time to talk to a professional financial advisor? Right now, is the correct answer. Whether you feel like you need help digging out of a hole or you feel like you have things under control, an advisor can help you look at things from a different perspective. Its our job to be objective, remove the emotions, and put your best interest first. Take that first step and start a conversation with an advisor today.